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Gaza: Now the guns have been silenced

The ceasefire calm after the latest round of hostilities in Gaza has ironically produced a positive effect. Both Israel and Hamas have come to the realization that neither can defeat the other politically and militarily with impunity, and now the guns have been silenced other options must now be explored to end a vicious cycle of violence.
- Alon Ben-Meir (Aug 29, '14)

Modi's muscle strains Indo-Pak talks
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has toughened his stance on Pakistan since coming to power, his anger at renewed violence in Kashmir brimming over this week - and in stark contrast to the welcome Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif received at his inauguration. With peace talks canceled and Sharif now otherwise occupied, reconciliation moves will just have to wait.
- Arman Sidhu (Aug 29, '14)

Taking cover near Jammu

Indian villagers look out of an army bunker during alleged shooting from the Pakistan side of the Line of Control at Abdullian village, about 35 kilometers from Jammu. India's army this week clashed with suspected militants in Indian Kashmir near the disputed border with Pakistan, leaving two soldiers and four rebels dead, according to a military official.

US looks for help against IS in Syria
The United States sees Syria as the prime battleground for defeating Islamic State's ambitions, yet the question of which forces to ally with is vexing, since the US could become enmeshed in the civil war and further inflame the anti-Western cause. The leadership seat vacated by the death of Osama bin Laden is still unoccupied, and US action could give a leg up to Islamic militants looking to fill it.
- Brian M Downing (Aug 27, '14)

India opens door to superbugs

India recently earned the dubious distinction of being the worst country in terms of antibiotic overuse in the world. Experts warn that unchecked growth in use combined with poverty, limited healthcare facilities and a doctor-patient ratio of one doctor to every 1,700 people have potential for the emergence of drug-resistant viruses and bacteria to be disastrous.
- Ranjita Biswas (Aug 29, '14)

Russia welcomes Asia food imports
Russia has urged 10 Asian countries to boost their agricultural exports to Russia amid a Kremlin ban on products from many Western countries. Economic Development Minister Aleksei Ulyukayev made his call at a meeting of Russian and Association of Southeast Asian Nations officials in Myanmar. (Aug 29, '14)

A new golden
age for journalism

Injustice is the gift that just keeps giving for investigative journalism. With so much of the business in flux, fine reporters are finding ways to shine much needed light into the parts of our global lives that the powerful would rather keep in the dark. If you’re a reader with access to the Internet, this is a new golden age. - Anya Schiffrin (Aug 28, '14)

Speaking Freely is an Asia Times Online feature that allows guest writers to have their say.

To submit to Speaking Freely click here

Why Gaza was betrayed
The war on Gaza and the dubious role played by Egypt in ceasefire talks between Hamas and Israel are testaments to the Arab betrayal of the Palestinian cause. Talk of solidarity is a show of words and masks that some Arab countries wish to see Israel crush any semblance of Palestinian resistance, in Gaza or elsewhere.
- Ramzy Baroud (Aug 27, '14)

Sharif resists resignation demands

Pakistan's embattled prime minister Nawaz Sharif said he will not step down despite persistent protests by demonstrators demanding his resignation.Tens of thousands of supporters of populist cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri and cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan have been holding separate rallies outside parliament since August 15.

North Korea leery of Chinese TV sets
North Korea is stepping up inspections on households with television sets imported from neighboring China, targeting LCD sets with USB ports and remote control functions, in Pyongyang’s latest attempt to prevent citizens from accessing foreign media ahead of the Asian Games. (Aug 27, '14)

China coal projects spark climate fears
China is slowing the growth of power plants that convert coal into natural gas as international criticism mounts over the environmental effects. An edict came days after Greenpeace highlighted the climate change consequences of some 50 planned coal-gas projects.
- Michael Lelyveld (Aug 27, '14)

Nosebleed time again
The NASDAQ index has climbed to highs last seen 14 years ago, when predicted disasters failed to materialize. As the index reaches nosebleeding levels, it is worth pondering what about today's environment might justify higher valuations than in 2000.
- Martin Hutchinson (Aug 27, '14)

Islamabad: Shades of Tahrir Square

Thousands of anti-government protesters have turned the civic center of Islamabad into a version of Cairo's Tahrir Square in their bid to force the government out of office. Rather like Egyptian demonstrators, the Pakistani throngs should be careful what they wish for, since true democracy there has proved elusive.
- Syed Fazl-e-Haider (Aug 27, '14)

Food ban 'against Russia's interests'
Sergei Guriyev, former dean of the prestigious New Economics School in Moscow, says Russia's ban on food imports is good news for local producers, but protectionist policies pose dangers for economic growth.
- Charles Recknagel (Aug 26, '14)

Some of my best
friends are Straussians

The late philosopher Leo Strauss was woefully wrong to assert we have something to learn from the statecraft of ancient Greece. The road from the self-destruction of that civilization leads through insidious turns of history to American narcissism and the fatuous belief that the whole world can be saved if force-fed the elixir of democracy. Even so, some of my best friends are Straussians.
(Aug 26, '14)

'Shock and awe' with a short blade
The brutal decapitation of American reporter James Foley by a lone masked jihadi with a short blade on a forlorn patch of desert in Iraq was in some respects a more proportionally efficient act of "shock and awe" warfare than the hi-tech rain of ordnance in the last Gulf War. It has left Western countries struggling to come up with an effective response.
- Michael Vatikiotis (Aug 26, '14)

The curious rise of Arun Jaitley
Arun Jaitley is juggling jobs that could make or break Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's first term in the eye of the Indian electorate, yet in the recent general election he couldn't even convince voters in Amristar to back him. Jaitley's sudden ascension to hold the finance, commerce and defense portfolios in Modi's government appears curious from the outside, but Modi appreciates his record as a political strategist. - Arman Sidhu (Aug 25, '14)

Pakistan: Narrative of a counter-revolution
Imran Khan and Tahir ul-Qadri may proclaim the best of intentions for the "revolutionary march" in Pakistan, but whereas true revolution overthrows the establishment and sets the scene for a new balance of power, the present protests have weakening the Nawaz Sharif government as their main objective. This will only allow the military old guard resume control of the country's domestic and foreign policy. - Daniele Grassi (Aug 25, '14)

For Beijing, it's time to lead
Amid growing concerns about the nature of China's rise and intentions, Beijing has a rare opportunity to prove it is a world leader, not just a world power. It should start by using diplomacy to settle its territorial claims, and realize that taking the lead is an investment in its own future.
- Zach Przystup (Aug 25, '14)


Keynes is dead;
long live Marx

No matter how passionately good-hearted Keynesians beg for jobs and other New Deal-type reform, their pleas fall on deaf ears of governments controlled by powerful moneyed interests. Marx had it right: class-based policy always trumps good sense.
- Ismael Hossein-Zadeh

Reloading the debt dice
Global financiers and corporations are increasingly supplanting governments on the international stage. Case in point: Argentina's debt struggle. Part of the answer can be found by funding through sovereign currencies and public banks, a recipe followed by China, Russia, South Korea and Japan.
- Ellen Brown

Reflexivity, bubbles and profits
As much as Bubble episodes seem absolutely ridiculous in hindsight (Internet stocks 1999, subprime 2006), they do not appear as such in real time. That's why so many - George Soros excepting - appear blind to the power of current negative sentiments to create a downward market spiral.
Doug Noland looks at the previous week's events each Monday.

Saudi-Iranian thaw
will take time

The interpretation that comes readily to mind regarding the visit to Riyadh by the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian to Riyadh and his talks on Tuesday with the Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal would be that a thaw is in the offing in the ties between the two countries. - M K Bhadrakumar

[Re The 'non-state' solution, Aug 4, '14] Let's face it, the US is a dishonest broker in the Israel/Palestine question. Brenner is under the illusion that strengthening Arab regimes will lead to a solution.
Abraham Bin Yiju
   Go to Letters to the Editor

1. Western plutocracy goes bear hunting

2. Hiroshima: Counting minutes to midnight

3. Gaza's resistance paradigm

4. Crime (Israel) and punishment (Russia)

5. The end of Israel's historical immunity

6. Xi grows in confidence at China's helm

7. It was Putin's missile!

8. China paying for corruption crackdown

9. The 'non-state' solution

10. Eurasia needs a Sino-German axis

(24 hours to 11:59pm ET, Aug 6, 2014)


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